Weight loss is both caloric and hormonal. In addition to proper attention to overall food intake, boosting the following hormones makes fat loss a lot easier:
2.) Human growth hormone
3.) Insulin-like growth factor-1
The following hormones make weight loss more difficult:
Notice something in common? Men make more of the hormones that make fat loss easier, and comparatively less of the hormones that make fat loss more difficult. It's harder for a woman to lose fat than a man, so to compare her progress to yours is unfair. Women also need four to five times more body fat than a man just to survive. Essential body fat for a man is around 3-4%. If a woman drops below the 15% body fat treshold, they'll likely lose their period and suffer metabolic damage. If they drop under 12%, they're on the brink of death. 12% body fat for a man means still a chunky belly. Ask me how I know.
Keeping calories low all the time is absolutely detrimental to a woman. The female metabolism is a fragile thing. If she dropped calories, the 15 lbs tapered off quickly because eventually, her body adapted to the lower calories. If originally she could maintain her weight at 1,800 calories a day and started eating 1,500 calories a day, then it's only a matter of time until her new maintenance calories become 1,500 calories a day. You need to cycle calories AND carbohydrates to avoid this. I recommend the following:
1.) For two weeks, have her not restrict calories. That doesn't mean gorge. That means eat a bit more food, but still eat Primal foods. Boosting her calories for two weeks will boost her metabolism. I also recommend eating around 100g of carbs per day during this time.
2.) After she "resets" her metabolism, begin cycling calories and carbohydrates. Since her activity is low, she can't go extreme with carbohydrate. I'm going to assume her maintenance is 1,800 calories being a female. So let's shoot for 1,400 calories for restriction. So a good plan would be the following:
Monday through Friday, eat 1,400 calories with high protein, moderate fat, low carbohydrate. That would be about 80g fat, 120g protein, 50g carbs.
Saturday and Sunday, eat 1,800 calories with high protein, low fat, moderate carbohydrate. That would be 40g fat, 120g protein, 240g carbs.
That may seem like a lot of carbs. It's not. Consider that the average American eats 300-400g of carbs every day, and most of those carbs are coming from sugar and grains. 240g of carbs from sweet potatoes, bananas, squash, apples and berries won't hurt her. Those two higher carb and higher calorie days will rev up her metabolism, but it won't be chronic enough to lead to lots of fat gain. Then, when she snaps back into the low calorie, low carbohydrate days, her body won't hold onto fat for fear of starving.
That's the plan I'd follow if I were her. You don't have to be a calorie Nazi, either. Just have her track for two weeks or so to get a feel of what those levels of calories and carbohydrates look like. After that, you can ballpark it. FWIW, I recommend the high carb days be low fiber. Sweet potatoes, white rice and bananas are excellent choices so you get almost all your carbs from glucose and not sucrose or fructose. If she decides to lift heavy things or sprint/HIIT, these are the days she wants to do it! Save the low-level cardio for the low carb days.
NOTE: She WILL gain "weight" during a carb-up. It's not fat gain. It's water weight. When you eat carbs, you store glycogen plus 3-4g of water per gram of glycogen stored. So, if she stores 400g of glycogen over those two days, she will store 400g of glycogen plus 1600-2000g of water for a grand total of 2000-2400g of total weight, or 4-6 lbs. She will drop all that water weight by Wednesday, and probably some fat, too. Don't watch the scale. I typically gain 10 lbs during my carb-ups.
Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 12-31-2011 at 11:29 PM.
Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.